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Friday, January 31, 2020

Vote on Witnesses

For John, BLUFWhile there was always the chance for things going sideways, this outcome was not unexpected.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Mr Tyler O'Neil, 31 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus two:

On Friday afternoon, the Senate voted against compelling more witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.  The final vote was 49-51.

The vote went as expected, with every Democrat voting for more witnesses and documents and every Republican voting against extending the trial, with the exceptions of Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

"The House chose to send articles of impeachment that are rushed and flawed.  I carefully considered the need for additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings of its process, but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena," Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) tweeted in a statement explaining why she would vote against extending the trial.

The two Republicans who voted for considering witnesses were Senators Romney and Collins.

The competing views:

Immediately after the vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) claimed the acquittal "will have no value."  He said the fact that the Senate trial will not include new witnesses or documents is a "perfidy" and a "tragedy."  These remarks echoed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's insistence that Trump cannot be acquitted without any further witnesses and documents.

"A majority of the U.S. Senate has determined that the numerous witnesses and 28,000-plus pages of documents already in evidence are sufficient to judge the House Managers' accusations and end this impeachment trial," McConnell said in a statement after the vote.  "There is no need for the Senate to re-open the investigation which the House Democratic majority chose to conclude and which the Managers themselves continue to describe as 'overwhelming' and 'beyond any doubt.'"

The things to look for in the future:
  1. Will there be any Kavanaugh-like surprises over the weekend, as like the John Bolton book draft from earlier?  Remember, there are no coincidences.
  2. It is entirely possible that Speaker Pelosi will pull the rug on the State of the Union Speech on Tuesday, or disruptions on the House floor during the talk.
  3. Speaker Pelosi, or Rep Schiff, may argue that no witnesses means no trial means Impeachment is still alive.
  4. The House may crank up the Impeachment machinery again, perhaps with actual witnesses.
While this denial of the legitimacy of President Trump's election is never ending, this phase will be over late Wednesday afternoon.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Rejected Question

For John, BLUFSenator Rand Paul has always been a bit of a maverick, but that doesn't mean he has been wrong.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Mr Matt Margolis, 30 January 2020.

This is the long form version of Senator Rand Paul's question during the Trump Impeachment Trial.  The one Chief Justice Roberts refused to read.

From. my "Conspiracy Theory" point of view it is an interesting question.  The leakage at the National Security Council has been not just appalling, but also a detriment to good democratic governance.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Bernie as President

For John, BLUFBernie's background does raise questions about his understanding of politics and economics.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media:  The Morning Briefing, by Opinionator Stephen Kruiser, 31 January 2020.

Is this a fair question?  Where would you put Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro on that scale?  Cuba's Castro (or Che)?

A line I have seen before, but separately saw this AM, "Socialism, where you vote yourself in but have to shoot your way out."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Open Government

For John, BLUFThe rules of conduct the Democratic House Managers are setting for elected officials seem pretty high.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Obama admin blocking congressional probe into cash payments to Iran

FRom The Washington Free Beacon, by Reporter Adam Kredo, 28 October 2016.  (Three and a half years ago.)

Here is the lede plus two:

Attorney General Loretta Lynch is declining to comply with an investigation by leading members of Congress about the Obama administration's secret efforts to send Iran $1.7 billion in cash earlier this year, prompting accusations that Lynch has "pleaded the Fifth" Amendment to avoid incriminating herself over these payments, according to lawmakers and communications exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) initially presented Lynch in October with a series of questions about how the cash payment to Iran was approved and delivered.

In an Oct. 24 response, Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik responded on Lynch's behalf, refusing to answer the questions and informing the lawmakers that they are barred from publicly disclosing any details about the cash payment, which was bound up in a ransom deal aimed at freeing several American hostages from Iran.

I look forward to our new future, when Administration personnel conduct full and open relations with the US Congress, and visa-versa.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Call to Revolution

For John, BLUFLanguage being using in the Impeachment Trial is intemperate.  Can people live up to that language?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Town Hall, by Opinionator Kurt Schlichter Kurt, 27 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus three:

I want to know why you Democrats are such cowards that you have not yet launched another civil war to free America of the totalitarian nightmare of President Donald J. Trump.  I mean, if he’s truly Hitler 2:  Electric Boogeyman, then isn’t it your sacred duty to remove this cancer on our body politic with arms if necessary?  Look, I get that you Dems have a track record on insurrections designed to oppress the rights of Americans you feel superior to that is pretty poor (0-1) but come on, heroes of democracy, make your move!  Just sitting here in the midst of this crisis you keep whining about makes you look like sissies or lying piles of talking garbage.

Actually, both.

Your hero, Jerry Nadler, while on parole from the chocolate factory, told the Senate this about our elected president:  "Only his will goes.  He is a dictator.  This must not stand and that is another reason he must be removed from office."

A dictator?  Hey, that’s bad, right?  I mean, unless the dictator is a leftist – wasn’t Castro dreamy?  But since this is a threat to our democracy, because Trump is a non-leftist dictator, aren’t you guys morally obligated to take action and remove him?  It’s obvious that those treacherous treason-loving traitors of treachery, the Republican senators, won’t toss the guy who did nothing wrong out of office so you can start working on throwing Mike Pence out of office, likely for the high crime and misdemeanor of trying to make America into The Handmaid’s Tale?

I think we can give the Democrats a pass while the Senate is holding a trial for President Donald John Trump.  But, if there is acquittal, then what?  Should the Democrats not take to the streets?  A Dictator is a bad thing.  It is inimical to to our Republic.  Representative Nadler's words demand action.

On the other hand, what if he is convicted but not barred from running for office, a la Representative Alcee Hastings?  What then?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Disrupting the Economy

For John, BLUFPeople are being innovative in earning money, making themselves available for small, discrete, jobs, often dubbed the Gig Economy.  Uber is an example.  It is disruptive.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Victory Girls, by Ms Darleen Click, 28 January 2020.

Here is the lede:

Impeachment of OrangeManBad may dominate Democrat talking points, but they haven’t forgotten to continue to punish citizens for the crime of wanting to be left alone.  Up for a vote next week is HR2474.  The Protecting the Right to Organize Act will not just cancel the right-to-work laws in 27 states, but it also contains the same language as California’s AB5 aimed straight at independent contractors.
Last year the California Assembly passed a law, AB5, which was designed to reform the Gig Economy.

So far the major impact of AB5 has been to disrupt employment of Gig workers and sow uncertainty.  As the Blogger suggests, this is a step back toward a more feudal economic arrangement.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Keeping You Safe

For John, BLUFIdeas need to compete and that requires freedom of thought and speech.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Powerline Blog, by Blogger John Hinderaker, 29 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Elizabeth Warren wants to jail fellow Democrats who spread the Russia collusion hoax and, more recently, the Ukraine impeachment fraud.  That, at least, is how I read her latest proposal:  “Elizabeth Warren proposes criminal penalties for spreading voting disinformation online.”
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday released a plan to fight disinformation and to hold tech companies accountable for their actions in light of the 2016 election.


Warren proposed to combat disinformation by holding big tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google responsible for spreading misinformation designed to suppress voters from turning out.

“I will push for new laws that impose tough civil and criminal penalties for knowingly disseminating this kind of information, which has the explicit purpose of undermining the basic right to vote,” Warren said in a release.

I assume she refers to Democrats who spread the ridiculous Russia collusion hoax, which was implausible on its face, in an effort to discourage Republican voters from turning out and to dissuade other voters from voting for Donald Trump.  As to 2020, the most obvious targets of her proposed statute would be the Democrats who smeared President Trump on the basis of the Ukraine fraud.
Yes, the question is who gets to decide truth from fiction?

Not the Government.  They have been recently found to have lied, numerous times, to the FISA Court, thus abusing the rights of Citizens.

Not the media, which distributed the lies of the Steele dossier, a collection of political lies.

The Judiciary?  Not likely.

Maybe this is about what we call social media, which is replacing newspapers, and the idea is that faceless corporate censors will, in the absence of journalistic skills, decide right from wrong for us.

Senator E Warren's idea is one that may look good at first glance, but is actually fascist in its execution.  Like a couple of Senator Warren's ideas.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Here is a short history of newspapers, which became a common thing after the invention of the printing press, with the first European newspaper beginning publication in 1605 AD.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Avoiding the Rule of Law

For John, BLUFWhen I was growing up the Boggy Man was "Reds under the bed."  Today it is "Putin's Puppet."  The idea that Tulsi is anyone's puppet strikes me as a strange view.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Law Prof Glenn Reynolds, 29 January 2020.

Here is the Blog Post, with a link to the newspaper article:

OUT:  NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW.  In:  Hillary Clinton refuses to be served Tulsi Gabbard’s defamation lawsuit.  “Dunne said their process server first attempted to effect service at the Clinton’s house in Chappaqua Tuesday afternoon — but was turned away by Secret Service agents.  The agents directed the server to the Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, who on Wednesday claimed at his Washington, D.C. firm Williams & Connolly that he was unable to accept service on Clinton’s behalf, said Dunne.”

I don’t understand why service of process is any business of the Secret Service’s.  They’re supposed to protect her from killers, not from the rule of law.

It doesn't look good and it sets a poor example for the ongoing Impeachment trial.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Book Drafts as Evidence

For John, BLUFAmbassador John Bolton is a polarizing personality, but apparently at this Star Date the Democrat House Managers see him as holding truth in his hands, or at least his book.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Fom PJ Media, by Mr Tylor O'Neil, 28 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Listen, guys.  Impeachment is huge.  I mean, it's tremendous.  President Donald Trump is terrified that if the Senate just knew how horrible he is, they would vote to remove him in a heartbeat.  All that's necessary for the truth to come out is former National Security Advisor John Bolton spilling his guts to the American people.  Trump wants to prevent that at all costs.  In fact, he'd be willing to start World War III to stay in office.

Or so go the musings of one Lawrence O'Donnell, a host at MSNBC.  While the entire rest of the world is fooled, he has figured out the secret truth behind Trump's airstrike that killed Iranian Quds Force leader Qasem Suleimani.  You see, it had nothing to do with the Iran-backed militias storming the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.  It had nothing to do with the hundreds of American troops Soleimani's efforts had killed and the troops who may have been targeted in the future.  It had nothing to do with the fact he was a terrorist mastermind ravaging the Middle East for decades.

No, it was all about appeasing John Bolton.

Thank God for the genius of Lawrence O'Donnell, that he can see through the Trump administration's lies and finally get to the bottom of a decision that made absolutely no sense until today!

How did the MSNBC host discover the real truth, you ask?  He read The New York TimesThe Times ran a shocking expose with salacious details of John Bolton's forthcoming book — an expose that was certainly not coordinated with Bolton's book coming out for pre-order on Amazon the same day (how dare you suggest such a thing!).  The Times suggested that after months of witnesses refusing to say Trump directly confessed to a quid pro quo with Ukraine, John Bolton was finally the one witness to bring the whole shining golden tower down.

Are we down to a "he said, she said" kind of situation?  I hope not.

It seems that, if the President scotched Major General Qasem Suleimani to keep Ambassador John Bolton on his side, he failed.  On the other hand, I haven't seen where Ambassador Bolton has spoken out one way or the other.

Perhaps equally important is who leaked the supposed book passage?  Was it LTC Yevgeny Vindman, from the National Security Council, or was it the publisher, or was it Ambassador Bolton, or was it someone with a review copy?  Or was it all made up?  The New York Times has decades of spotty reporting on Ukraine, including the reporting by Times Reporter Walter Duranty on the Holodomor.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Will the Impeachment Trial Ever End?

For John, BLUFSometimes personal animosity turns into political contest.  Is the Trump Impeachment one such case?  I hope not.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Trump’s former national security advisor could be a key to proving the impeachment case against the president.

From Foreign Policy, by Mr Michael Hirsh, 27 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

“Yes, John Bolton Really Is That Dangerous.”  So read the headline of a New York Times editorial in March 2018, shortly after Bolton was named U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security advisor.  The editorial took stock of the extreme views publicly advocated by the “fiery” Bolton over the years, from urging preemptive strikes on Iran and North Korea to zealously insisting that “the United States can do what it wants without regard to international law.”

It may be a measure of how far off the scale of sanity Washington has gone that a man who was long demonized by both Democrats and mainstream Republicans as a right-wing zealot is today seen by some as a rock of integrity, one who could quite possibly save the republic.

Save the Republic from what?  Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi?

This Impeachment is about "saving" the Republic, from four more years of Donald J Trump.  It is an attempt to use the Impeachment, and subsequent trial, as a way to fatally muddy up President Trump.  If the House Democrats succeed it will take the likes of Dwight D Eisenhower, U S Grant or G Washington to put us back on a better track.

If the House of Representatives fails in this it could be an interesting second four years.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Getting Educated

For John, BLUFMaybe it is just in conservative circles, but there seems to be a consensus that students did better in school in the old days, albeit, Blacks did not do well in segregated schools.  On the other hand, court ordered business, as in Boston, didn't seem to fix the problem.  On the other hand, expensive as it is, Lowell's busing plan seems to have generated the kind of school building and educational reform proponents of busing were seeking.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, the VodkaPundit, by Mr Stephen Green, 28 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

There's a new study showing a depressing "achievement gap" between white and minority students, and that the gap is much wider in progressive-run cities than it is in conservative ones.

In a Martin Luther King Day-themed op-ed for the Minneapolis Tribune, civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong addresses the "open secret" that in the Twin Cities, "black and brown children are being left behind within the public school system." Armstrong says that "One might expect that politically progressive cities would be leading the way in closing the opportunity gap in education," but a new study from brightbeam, a nonprofit education advocacy organization, shows that conservative-run cities enjoy a much smaller education gap. According to brightbeam, "conservative cities have gaps in math and reading that are on average 15 and 13 percentage points smaller than those in progressive cities," she notes.

The numbers must be shocking to our oh-so-caring progressive friends:

In three of the most conservative cities — Anaheim, Fort Worth and Virginia Beach, researchers found that leaders have either closed or eliminated opportunity gaps in either reading, math or high school graduation rates.

Meanwhile, in our own “progressive” city of Minneapolis, the report showed that the shameful gap in math achievement between black and white students in K-12 is 53 percentage points, while the gap in math between brown and white students is 45 points.

Similarly, in reading, the gap between black and white Minneapolis students is 53, while the gap between brown and white students is 47.

Compare that with “conservative” Jacksonville, Fla., where the reading gap between black and white students is 30; and the math gap is 27.

When Florida Man does a better job than you do of educating kids, maybe it's time for some serious self-reflection.

My suspicion is that it isn't so much that more conservative local governments are better at education as it is citizens who have conservative values with regard to the education of their children tend to elect more conservative local governments.

How do we instill conservative values, such as self-discipline and education in parents, to instill in their children?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Impeachment Overstep

For John, BLUFAs Detective Harry Callahan said, "A man has to know his limitations."  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Caller, by ALLAHPUNDIT, 23 January 2020.

Here is the lede:

Turley’s right to note that Lisa Murkowski, a rare persuadable Republican, was annoyed at Nadler after his accusation on Tuesday night.  This morning we found out that another (theoretically) persuadable Republican, Susan Collins, was so irritated that she sent John Roberts a note demanding an intervention.
The House Managers seem full of themselves.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Not All Immigrants Are Equal

For John, BLUFThe issue of illegal immigrants has been with us for ever, and isn't getting fixed.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Lid, by Reporters Faye Higbee and Jeff Dunetz, 24 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus three:

Tell me again how we don’t need to do a better job regulating who and how people come into this country.

The latest example that should scare the heck out of you happened in the great state of Texas. While our legislators were concentrating on a fake impeachment trial, three Syrians nationals were arrested in Dallas had counterfeit Colombian passports.  That was the good part.  They are allegedly linked to Al-Qaeda and supposedly entered the US at Dallas, Texas.  The report appears a bit sketchy at this time, due to some differences in who reported what.  None of the reports state precisely where the men were arrested,al-Qaeda Syrians.

The three Stooges, I mean three Syrian nationals, first raised the suspicions of the American authorities when they applied for travel visas from Colombia, as their suspicious documents gave them away.  These potential terrorists were not too smart.  The American authorities detected a fraud when the fake passports’ birth dates failed to match up with the identification numbers used by the Colombian government.

Per Colombian reporter, Luis Carlos Vélez published images of the counterfeit passports on Twitter (below), noting that the men got into Colombia through the La Guajira border crossing with Venezuela.

The inability of the US Congress to come up with effective legislation, to help us screen out the terrorists from the vast crowd of legal immigrant and asylum seekers is breathtaking and appalling.  One hopes that our local Congresswoman, Lori Trahan, soon gets a handle on it.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Dictator Argument

For John, BLUFThe House Democrats don't trust the American Voters to do the right thing in November.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

That is the question.

Here is the CNN take on House Manager Jerry Nadler's presentation to the Senators:

"He is a dictator.  This must not stand, and that is ... another reason he must be removed from office."  House manager Jerry Nadler closed out his remarks this afternoon with some of the most fiery language that's been heard so far directed at Pres. Trump.
The response on Twitter, by Mr Michael Harvey:
Would a “dictator” allow himself to be impeached on grounds he finds scurrilous.  Trump has routinely been subverted and undermined by his own subordinates.  This is so moronic.

As Professor Glenn Reynolds said at Instapundit:  "Indeed".

Does anyone remember The Night of the Long Knives?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, January 24, 2020

Lawfare Blog Believes Elections Obsolete

For John, BLUFHouse Manager Adam Schiff said that the Election in 2020 will not be fair and will not reflect the will of the people.  “The president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won."  Voting is no longer a way of selecting our leaders?  FYI, the Lawfare Blog is out of Brookings Institution.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It continues:

"Abuse of power, for impeachment purposes, must consist in corruptly using those powers for personal, political gain.  If the president in fact withheld military assistance authorized by Congress in order to gain an advantage over former Vice President Joe Biden, that was an unlawful and corrupt abuse of power.  The fact that the GAO confirmed that this was a violation of law is not, as Dershowitz claims, irrelevant.  And the claim that other presidents violated the same provisions—without a showing that they did so for personal, political reasons—has nothing to do with the question of impeachment.  Of course, Trump’s defense team may well argue that the president never intended to connect his withholding of funds from Ukraine with the demand that the Ukrainian president announce an investigation of Biden and his son."

From "Alan Dershowitz’s Strange Constitutional Arguments on Impoundment and Foreign Policy" by Philip Bobbitt (Lawfare).

Here is Professor Althouse's comment:

If we take Bobbitt's approach to heart, everything depends on what Trump had in his mind.  The question is whether the Senators have enough evidence of wrong thoughts in Trump's mind that they should deprive the people of the choice we made in the last election, when the alternative is to go forward to the next election.  And I'm saying "we" even though I did not vote for Trump.  We, the People.
You're Darn Tootin'.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Polling on Abortion

For John, BLUFAbortion is a topic that causes unease in some politicians, perhaps because they think the pro-abortion crowd is powerful, but the pro-life crowd is a small, remote, corner of a diminishing Chrisendom.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Free Beacon, Reporter Yoichiro Kakutani, 22 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus two:

Democratic presidential candidates have eagerly embraced radical pro-abortion stances, but two-thirds of Americans want to vote for political candidates who favor "significant restrictions" on abortion, according to a recent poll.

The annual Marist poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus showed that 55 percent of Americans identify as pro-choice.  However, 70 percent of the country, including nearly half of self-described pro-choice respondents, oppose all abortions or believe they should be permitted only during the first 12 weeks, in medical emergencies, or in cases of rape or incest.

The data do not bode well for the leading Democratic presidential candidates, all of whom espouse ambitious pro-abortion policy platforms.  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) wants to install a federal statutory right that "parallels the constitutional right in Roe v. Wade" and prohibit states from restricting abortion in later months of pregnancy.  Former vice president Joe Biden also capitulated to a progressive outcry last year and committed himself to oppose the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortion through Medicaid.

While President Trump will be the first President to participate in the yearly March for Life, I am doubtful this will be a major factor in this years elections.

I am bemused by the approach of the abortion advocates, who seem to think that women, who have been procuring abortions for millennia, need abortions to be available at every opportunity and at no cost, neither in money nor emotion.  I find this to be infantilizing of women.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Discrimination in High Ed

For John, BLUFBack in the early 1970s, when the Air Force was sending all of us to "Social Actions" classes, some viewed them as teaching Air Force members how to discriminate.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The College Fix, by the College Fix Staff, 12 JANUARY 2020.

Here is the lede plus three (Note that this is the UK, but I expect it transfers to the US):

A professor of education and social justice at the University of Birmingham says college trainings designed to help minorities advance are ineffective, and may even bolster “white privilege.”

Kalwant Bhopal examined 30 interviews of those who attended programs designed to support BMEs (Black Ethnic Minorities), and found that many believed “structural inequalities” were not sufficiently addressed.

According to Times Higher Education, at present only 80 of the United Kingdom’s 14,000-plus professors are black.

Bhopal, who published her findings in the British Educational Research Journal, said diversity/inclusion programs “benefit higher education institutions rather than contributing to a commitment to inclusion, equity and creating a diverse workforce.”  They also “perpetuate and reinforce white privilege.”

Frankly on this day after the Martin Luther King, Jr, Holiday, it might be time to reflect on if it is time to make generous assumptions about how most of us have a more mature view of race relations.  And to accept that some people just never grow up and thus are abusive of all the people they meet.  At the same time, too much banging of the kettle can become irritating.

Perhaps yesterday's Second Amendment demonstration in Virginia's Capitol, Richmond, can serve of an example of everyone pulling together for the same goal.  Notwithstanding some in the Press billing the demonstration as a "White Supremacist" meeting, it was people of all races and orientations advocating against what they see as proposed new laws that are not only self-defeating, but unconstitutional.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Homelessness in the Big Apple

For John, BLUFWhile Homelessness is not a major issue in Lowell, it is a problem.  Just not the big problem it is out on the Coast, in major cities, or along the Eastern Seaboard, from Boston to DC.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Fox New, by Reporter Emily DeCiccio, 20 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus eight:

New York City’s homeless shelters are overloaded as an estimated 80,000 people sleep in shelters or on the streets, but Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has failed in its attempts to solve the problem -- and other cities are suffering from the Democrat’s policy, according to critics.

In 2017, the city’s Human Resources Administration implemented the Special One-Time Assistance (SOTA) program in attempts to take a bite out of the Big Apple’s homelessness crisis.  Kathryn Kliff, an attorney for the Legal Aid Society’s Homeless Rights Project, told Fox News that SOTA was meant to be used as one of many tools for New York City to help homeless people and families get out of shelters and find permanent housing -- often outside the city.

“SOTA is a program that gives families that have a future ability to pay rent, a year's worth of rent upfront to help them get settled,” Kliff said.  “It was created with the idea that once the program ends, they'll take over the rental payments because they have some designated source of income.”

Arianna Fishman, a spokesperson for New York City’s Department of Homelessness (DHS), explained to Fox News that SOTA “provides the extra help needed to get back on the path to permanency and stability through one-time assistance for those households with income that have identified housing, both within and beyond the five boroughs of New York City.”

Kliff added that SOTA has been used for families who may not qualify for other housing vouchers, and is meant to help them move out of shelters because housing in New York City has been so expensive.

The cost of living in Manhattan reportedly was 148 percent higher than the average cost for major U.S. cities in 2019.  The average rent in Manhattan for the month of December 2019 increased by 0.29 percent, from $4,108.24 in November to $4,120.20, according to M.N.S. Real Estate NYC.

David Salvatore, a member of the Providence City Council in Rhode Island, explained that while the concept of SOTA was positive, the implementation was lacking.

“I heard about it through various news outlets,” Salvatore, a Democrat, said.  “It was news to many of us that new residents would be moving in who received a one-year rent subsidy from New York City.”

Fishman noted that the de Blasio administration was in contact with other jurisdictions, but did not indicate whether local governments previously had received a heads-up regarding SOTA.

So, New York City has a major homeless problem.  In fact, their homeless problem is almost the size of Lowell (well, about 75% of Lowell).  And they are dealing with it, in part, by exporting the problem.  They are giving people money to live elsewhere.  Elsewhere, as in not New York City.

The New York City homeless solution is abusive of other political entities and fails to consider the various reasons for homelessness.  Not everyone is homeless because their rent went up but their income didn't.  (And some of that is due to short sighted actions by local governments in the area of zoning and use of incentives to housing builders.)  Some are homeless due to addiction.  Some are homeless due to untreated mental illness.  Some suffer from both.  Some lack the socialization that allows them to be productive members of society.  Some just want the freedom of not being tied down by a home.  There is no one size fits all solution.

On the other hand, there is this about New York City:

Here is the sub-headline:

Approximately half of the luxury-condo units that have come onto the market in the past five years are still unsold.

From The Atlantic (via Apple News), by Reporter Derek Thompson, 16 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus six:

In Manhattan, the homeless shelters are full, and the luxury skyscrapers are vacant.

Such is the tale of two cities within America’s largest metro. Even as 80,000 people sleep in New York City’s shelters or on its streets, Manhattan residents have watched skinny condominium skyscrapers rise across the island.  These colossal stalagmites initially transformed not only the city’s skyline but also the real-estate market for new homes.  From 2011 to 2019, the average price of a newly listed condo in New York soared from $1.15 million to $3.77 million.

But the bust is upon us.  Today, nearly half of the Manhattan luxury-condo units that have come onto the market in the past five years are still unsold, according to The New York Times.

What happened? While real estate might seem like the world’s most local industry, these luxury condos weren’t exclusively built for locals.  They were also made for foreigners with tens of millions of dollars to spare.  Developers bet huge on foreign plutocrats—Russian oligarchs, Chinese moguls, Saudi royalty—looking to buy second (or seventh) homes.

But the Chinese economy slowed, while declining oil prices dampened the demand for pieds-à-terre among Russian and Middle Eastern zillionaires.  It didn’t help that the Treasury Department cracked down on attempts to launder money through fancy real estate. Despite pressure from nervous lenders, developers have been reluctant to slash prices too suddenly or dramatically, lest the market suddenly clear and they leave millions on the table.

The confluence of cosmopolitan capital and terrible timing has done the impossible:  It’s created a vacancy problem in a city where thousands of people are desperate to find places to live.

From any rational perspective, what New York needs isn’t glistening three-bedroom units, but more simple one- and two-bedroom apartments for New York’s many singles, roommates, and small families.  Mayor Bill De Blasio made affordable housing a centerpiece of his administration.  But progress here has been stalled by onerous zoning regulations, limited federal subsidies, construction delays, and blocked pro-tenant bills.

We have a social problem.  And we have a moral problem.  This is a local problem, to be solved locally.  When we get Federal money to solve this problem we are just taking money from one region to help another region.  That is a shifting of burden.  Fixing this problem will involve more than Federal Government (Department of Housing and Urban Development) "Housing First" program.  Mental Health support is needed, as well as help with addiction.  Perhaps of equal importance is helping people change their cultural approach to work, housing and family life.  A problem is that today not everyone sees work as a human good.

In the mean time, all of us need to be supportive of our local government and any non-governmental organization involved in helping the homeless.  Volunteer somewhere.  Attend meetings of your local Hunger and Homeless Commission.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

This Day in History

For John, BLUFThank God there is the Hallmark Channel, including Magnum reruns.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Babylon Bee, 21 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus two:

President Trump's historic impeachment trial began today, but nobody noticed as everyone was too excited about Taco Tuesday to care.

"Oh, I guess there's some impeachment thing happen--oh man!  I almost forgot:  it's taco Tuesday!" one man in New Mexico remarked.  "Man, as soon as I get off work, I'm going to get some delicious street tacos for half-off.  I can never decide between the carne asada and the pork.  Ugh--aw, who am I kidding?  I'll get both!"

Similar sentiments were expressed by Americans everywhere as people checked the news and were irritated by another mention of impeachment but then were happy when they remembered it was Taco Tuesday at Mexican restaurants all around the nation.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, January 20, 2020

Knowing What Really Happened

For John, BLUFFreedom requires a certain degree of informational accuracy in order to be effectively exercised.  It seems to me that News institutions have a duty to provide the unvarnished facts.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Twitchy, by Sarah D., 20 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

NBC News correspondent Gabe Gutierrez is on the ground in Virginia today to cover today’s gun rights rally. And what he heard will shock you:

[Then the article cuts to the Tweet]

Chants of “we will not comply” from gun rights protesters in Richmond.
The problem is, it sure sounds, in the video Reporter Gabe Gutierrez provides, like the US Pledge of Allegiance.

I am thinking that this isn't so much on Reporter Gutierrez as on his production team.  Still, it is on NBC as a media institution.  Alternatively, it is a deliberate distortion for the purposes of influencing political sentiments.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, January 19, 2020

A Free Media

For John, BLUFBy accident President Trump does more for world freedom than his predecessor did on purpose.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Powerline Blog, by Blogger John Hinderaker, 13 January 2020.

Here is the lede:

More fallout from Iran’s shooting down of the Ukrainian airliner:  a news anchor on Iran’s state television has resigned, apologizing to the people of Iran for “lying to you on TV for 13 years.”
Does it not appear that President Trump, by his actions against Iranian Major General Sulimani, provided space for Iranians to exercise some freedom?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Impeachment Explained

For John, BLUFThe House Democrats can't seem to explain it.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Althouse Blog, from Professor Ann Althouse, 19 January 2019.

Click on the link.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

For John, BLUFSomething interesting happened in Iran.  With the downing of the Ukraine airliner, and the Iranian Government's initial coverup, the protestors in the Iranian streets flipped from Anti-American to Anti-Iranian Government.  Not everyone got the memo.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Victory Girls, by Ms Nina Bookout, 13 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Nancy Pelosi had her own “some people did something” moment yesterday.  She made it clear that she could care less about the Iranian protestors while talking with George Stephanopolous on ABC’s This Week.

Nancy literally “whatevered” Iranians who are courageously standing up to one of the most evil and oppressive regimes in the world.  She completely dissed Iranian citizens who know that they could be killed for what they are doing.

It isn't like the Press picked up the protest flip, so maybe Speaker Pelosi is just uninformed.

Kudos, however, to the President, who did get the memo, and tweeted out support, in Farsi.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, January 13, 2020

Comity Retreating

For John, BLUFCivility seems to have been overtaken by defensiveness within the Beltway of our Nation's Capitol.  This will not be helpful as the year progresses.  Heck, even Senator Bernie Sanders has broken down and started picking on our Senior Senator here in Mass, Ms E Warren.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Comkmentator Stephen Kruiser, 13 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus plus:

If this was supposed to be damage control by Nancy Pelosi after she was forced to give up her impeachment stunt and cave to Mitch McConnell, it wasn't very smooth.  Madame Speaker joined George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week on Sunday and did the worst thing she can do these days: speak her mind. The Washington Examiner:
Pelosi, 79, then pivoted to McConnell, saying he has "resisted sources" that suggest Russian meddling in American elections.

"Sometimes I wonder about Mitch McConnell too," remarked Pelosi.  "What's he — why is he an accomplice to all of that?  He has resisted sources going in a manner commensurate with the threat for state agencies, whichever they are in a state, could be the secretary of state or whatever, to protect our infrastructure, our critical infrastructure of elections."

Earlier in the interview, Pelosi claimed McConnell, 78, was participating in a "cover-up" after the Kentucky Republican signed onto a measure to dismiss Trump's impeachment trial without witness presentations if Pelosi doesn't send the two articles of abuse and obstruction to the Senate within 25 days.

I am sure Speaker Pelosi didn't mean to imply that the Senate Majority Leader was in cahoots with the Russians.  It was just awkward formation of her sentences.

But, she is very unhappy.

Notwithstanding, this formulation is very unhelpful to the dialogue within our nation's capitol.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Shameless Coverup

For John, BLUFThis flows from the FISA Court authorizing, repeatedly, the surveillance of US Citizen Carter Page, and others, growing out of the 2016 Election and the Democratic Party's Steele Dossier.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Zero Hedge, by Mr Tyler Durden, 13 January 2020.

Here is the key paragraph:

... on Friday, the FISA Court posted an order naming anti-Trump lawyer David Kris to “assist the court” in assessing the FBI’s response to the court-ordered cleanup of lapses and abuses identified by Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz.
That sounds a little like the fox checking on who raided the hen house.  In some places in our nation's capitol the swamp is very deep.  Perhaps more like a pig sty

If it wasn't so sad, it would be truly funny. The source for Mr Durden is Ms Sharyl Attkisson, who has had her own problems with the Surveillance State, and has recently worked to reopen her case against the Government.

From that "right wing" fake news site, Zero Hedge.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Iran Mess Here at Home

For John, BLUFI have been reading The New Yorker since from around 1950—or at least reading the cartoons.  It was in the living room of the house behind ours, the DeHarts on Lincoln Street.  I think it would be fair to characterize Clara DeHart as the intellectual on South Lincoln Street.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New Yorker, by Writer John Cassidy, 10 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

The Trump-Iran story continues to develop in alarming ways.  On Thursday, reports that Western governments believe Iranian military forces mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing a hundred and seventy-six passengers and crew members, produced a predictably divided reaction.  “Innocent civilians are now dead because they were caught in the middle of an unnecessary and unwanted military tit for tat,” Pete Buttigieg, the Democratic Presidential candidate, said, on Twitter, immediately drawing cries of outrage from Trump supporters who insisted that Iran was entirely responsible.  Iran’s government dismissed the reports as disinformation.  But, if it does turn out that the Iranian military made a terrible blunder amid the frightening escalation in long-running tensions between Tehran and the Trump Administration, it will be ever more imperative to get a full account, not only of that blunder but also of the escalation.

On that subject, more disturbing details are emerging by the day.  The picture we are getting is of the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Vice-President Mike Pence both egging on an impetuous President to launch the January 2nd drone attack that killed the Iranian military commander Qassem Suleimani at Baghdad International Airport.  None of Trump’s other senior political or military advisers, meanwhile, appear to have urged restraint, despite the near-certainty that the move would inflame the entire Middle East and provoke reprisals.  Any deliberative policymaking process appears to have been replaced by a combination of belligerence, toadyism, and saluting the Commander-in-Chief.

Really, Mr Cassidy is supporting Mayor Pete Buttigieg's contention that President Trump is responsible for the downing of the Ukranian airliner on takeoff from Tehran?  Is he willing to take it to the next step, which is, as Senator Warren suggests, that the President ordered the attack on Major General Suleimani because of the Impeachment action, a sort of Wag the Dog scenario.  Is Speaker Pelosi ultimately responsible for this?

But, more fundamental is the question of if the attack on Major General Suleimani was "an unnecessary and unwanted military tit for tat"? History tells us that this kind of targeting is not unknown:

Notwithstanding the hagiography to be found in leading US newspapers and media outlets, General Saleimani was in fact an enemy of the United States and a very effective one.  The Iranian catch phrase, "Death to America" is a phrase from Iran familiar in the US.  Here is a Wall Street Journal article, "The Sinister Genius of Qassem Soleimani."  The sub-headline is "The Iranian commander harnessed both Shiite extremists and Sunni radicals, even as he built a 'foreign legion' to project Iran's power."  We are talking about a genius, a genius who kept us hopping for two decades.  We have heard the line about him being responsible for 600 American dead.  The real issue is the thousands of Iraqis who died because of General Suleimani's genius for irregular warfare.  Taking him off the table only makes sense.

"Why now" asks Senator Warren and others.  Why now is that it is time to put a stake in the ground over the increasing escalation of actions by Iran over the last nine months:

  • 7 May — United Arab Emirates claims four commercial ships “were subjected to sabotage operations.”
  • 13 June — Two oil tankers near strategic Strait of Hormuz hit, leaving one ablaze and adrift as 44 sailors are evacuated from both vessels.
  • 20 June — Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shoots down a U.S. military surveillance drone.  President Trump lets it pass.
  • 1 July — Iran follows through on a threat to exceed the limit set by the nuclear deal on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, which is used for civilian applications
  • 14 Sept. — A drone attack on Saudi oil facilities temporarily cuts off half the oil supplies of the world’s largest producer, causing a spike in prices.
  • November — Protests break out in some 100 cities and towns in Iran after authorities raise the price of gasoline.  Scale of protests and resulting crackdown hard to determine as authorities shut down internet for several days.  Amnesty International estimates more than 300 people killed.
  • 27 Dec. — A US contractor is killed and several American and Iraqi troops are wounded in rocket attack on a base in northern Iraq.  US blames the attack on Kataeb Hezbollah, one of several Iran-backed militias operating in Iraq.
  • 29 Dec. — US hits Kataeb Hezbollah positions in Iraq and Syria, killing at least 25 fighters and bringing vows of revenge.
  • 31 Dec. — Hundreds of Iran-backed militiamen their supporters barge through an outer barrier of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and hold two days of violent protests, smashing windows, setting fires and hurling rocks.
I will admit there is a down side.  Per The Daily Mail, out of the UK, "Protesters in Tehran clash with riot police as they demand the Ayatollah RESIGNS and call for regime change after Iran finally admits to shooting down jet and killing 176 people."  I blame President Trump.  Heck, protestors were even avoiding stepping on the US and Israeli flags.  And, to stir up the problem, President Trump even tweeted out a greeting to the protestors ("To the brave and suffering people of Iran:  I have stood with you since the beginning of my presidency and my government will continue to stand with you.  We are following your protests closely.  Your courage is inspiring").  The Democrat Presidential Candidates?  Crickets.

Did it make us safer?  Yes.

There has been questions as to if the President has done the appropriate notices to the US Congress.  I think that the answer is yes, both in terms of the law and in terms of precedent, set by those who occupied the Oval Office before him.

Opponents of the President have asserted that he, and his Administration, has no strategy.  It appears to me to be restraint, but responses to attacks targeting Americans and killing them.  We will support our allies, but at the same time, scale down our deployments in the Middle and Near East. 

Regards  —  Cliff

  The British were very concerned about the use of ULTRA signals intelligence for this particular raid.  It caused tension in the ULTRA intelligence sharing arrangement.
  There has been some controversy in the award of credit for shooting down Admiral Yamamoto's aircraft.  This Blogger was part of a three member panel that reviewed the evidence back in the mid-1980s.


For John, BLUFA lot of Speaker Pelosi's actions in the recent past don't make sense to me and some others.  Perhaps this is the explanation.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Mr Steve Bannon, on Ms Maria Bartiromo's Sunday Morning Futures Program this morning (Fox News), just used the term "nullification" to describe Speaker Nancy Pelosi's actions with regard to Impeachment.  That is what is happening.  The Democratic leadership wishes to nullify the 2016 election.  That would serve to reverse the legitimate results of the Electoral College, which was based on the legitimate votes of American Voters who bothered to actually vote in November 2016.

My wife reports that earlier in the show Ms Bartiromo opined that the reason for holding up on Impeachment was to help former Vice President Joe Biden in the Iowa Caucuses, by tying down Senator Bernie Sanders in the Impeachment Trial, when he needs to be campaigning in Iowa.

This is not an attractive look for Speaker Pelosi, especially after the way the Democratic Establishment rolled over Senator Sanders in 2016.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Trump's Next Move

For John, BLUFThe future is not written in stone.  And bullies need to be resisted.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Officials said there have been no reports of American casualties at this time.

From ABC News, by Reporters Luis Martinez and Elizabeth McLaughlin, 7 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Iran fired multiple missiles into Iraq on Tuesday evening, targeting U.S. military sites in what appeared to be retaliation for the recent American drone strike that killed one of its top generals.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps swiftly took credit, and one Iranian politician tweeted his nation’s flag -- an apparent swipe at President Donald Trump who tweeted the American flag after the U.S. killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

So where does it go from here?  This could be the opening act of a worse future, as suggested by The Daily Beast Yesterday ("The Nuclear Threats From Iran and North Korea, Working Together, Grow by the Day").  The sub-headline is "By blowing away Soleimani, Trump wanted to show he is not a paper tiger. But his “disproportionate” actions may push North Korea and Iran to step up nuclear cooperation."

One problem with this view is that it ignores several decades of history, including Iranian fomenting of conflict over the last two decades, and efforts at nuclear weapons development.  It includes North Korean acts of overseas assassinations and their sinking of a South Korean warship.  Then there is the North Korean shelling of South Korean Islands.

There is an alternative future.  It is possible the leadership of both Iran and North Korea will recognize there are limits to their bullying behavior, coupled with a willingness on the part of the United States to engage in Live and Let Live.  We are hearing those kinds of words from the White House and Tehran.  There is hope.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Who Compares with the Late Quds Force Commander Qassim Soleimani

For John, BLUFThe targeted killing of Quds Force Commander Qassim Soleimani has caused Democrats to become excited about the actions of President Trump in defense of Americans.  I think they lack historic depth.  We have always had very bad people abusing fellow human beings.  Mr Soleimani is not unique.  And killing such people is not unique.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

SS-Gruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich was attacked on 27 May 1942, outside of Prague (Operation ANTHROPOID), by Czech Partisans, supported by the British Government.

This information is from the Heydrich Wikipedia page.

Heydrich wore many hats in the Third Reich, including President of the International Criminal Police Commission (later known as Interpol).  He was the founding head of the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service, SD), an internal intelligence organization.  He helped organize Kristallnacht, a series of coordinated attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938.  Upon his arrival in Prague, Heydrich sought to eliminate opposition to the Nazi occupation by suppressing Czech culture and deporting and executing members of the Czech resistance.  He was directly responsible for the Einsatzgruppen, the special task forces that travelled in the wake of the German armies and murdered more than two million people by mass shooting and gassing, including 1.3 million Jews.  On 20 January 1942, Heydrich chaired a meeting, now called the Wannsee Conference, which formalized plans for the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question"—the deportation and genocide of all Jews in German-occupied Europe.

Here is Wikipedia on the assault on Heydrich:

In London, the Czechoslovak government-in-exile resolved to kill Heydrich.  Jan Kubiš and Jozef Gabčík headed the team chosen for the operation, trained by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE).  They returned to the Protectorate, parachuting from a Handley Page Halifax on 28 December 1941, where they lived in hiding, preparing for the mission.

On 27 May 1942, Heydrich planned to meet Hitler in Berlin. German documents suggest that Hitler intended to transfer him to German-occupied France where the French resistance was gaining ground.  Heydrich would have to pass a section where the Dresden-Prague road merges with a road to the Troja Bridge.  The junction in the Prague suburb of Libeň was well suited for the attack because motorists have to slow for a hairpin bend.  As Heydrich's car slowed, Gabčík took aim with a Sten submachine gun, but it jammed and failed to fire.  Heydrich ordered his driver Klein to halt and attempted to confront the attackers, rather than having his driver speed away.  Kubiš then threw a converted anti-tank mine at the rear of the car as it stopped.  The explosion wounded both Heydrich and Kubiš. Heydrich ordered Klein to chase Gabčík on foot, and Gabčík shot Klein in the leg.  Kubiš and Gabčík managed to escape the scene.

A Czech woman went to Heydrich's aid and flagged down a delivery van.  He was placed on his stomach in the back of the van and taken to the emergency room at Bulovka Hospital.  He had suffered severe injuries to his left side, with major damage to his diaphragm, spleen, and one lung.  A splenectomy was performed, and the chest wound, left lung, and diaphragm were all debrided.  Himmler ordered Karl Gebhardt to fly to Prague to assume care.  Despite a fever, Heydrich's recovery appeared to progress well.  Hitler's personal doctor Theodor Morell suggested the use of the new antibacterial drug sulfonamide, but Gebhardt thought that Heydrich would recover and declined the suggestion.  Heydrich reconciled himself to his fate on 2 June, during a visit by Himmler, by reciting one of his father's operas:

The world is just a barrel-organ which the Lord God turns Himself.  We all have to dance to the tune which is already on the drum.
Heydrich slipped into a coma after Himmler's visit and never regained consciousness.  He died on 4 June; an autopsy concluded that he died of sepsis.


After an elaborate funeral held in Prague on 7 June 1942, Heydrich's coffin was placed on a train to Berlin, where a second ceremony was held in the new Reich Chancellery on 9 June.  Himmler gave the eulogy.  Hitler attended and placed Heydrich's decorations—including the highest grade of the German Order, the Blood Order Medal, the Wound Badge in Gold, and the War Merit Cross 1st Class with Swords—on his funeral pillow.  Although Heydrich's death was employed for pro-Reich propaganda, Hitler privately blamed Heydrich for his own death, through carelessness:

Since it is opportunity which makes not only the thief but also the assassin, such heroic gestures as driving in an open, unarmoured vehicle or walking about the streets unguarded are just damned stupidity, which serves the Fatherland not one whit.  That a man as irreplaceable as Heydrich should expose himself to unnecessary danger, I can only condemn as stupid and idiotic
Seems that they were both horrible people, from a civilization point of view.  Both seem to have felt that all is fair in war.  Both seem to feel that there was no action to base.

The difference is that Heydrich was internal until war broke out and then he operated in occupied territory.  In contrast, Qassim Soleimani operated a great guerrilla group across the Middle East, operating in the territory of other nations, including Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.  He seemed to feel free to poke at a number of additional nations, including Israel and Saudi Arabia.  He supported the idea of "Death to America" (and Israel).  And meant it.

It is always sad when a human dies.  However, this was a person who engaged in this killing, in a big way.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Alternative View

For John, BLUFThe Democrats, in and out of Government, are saying that President Trump upset the stability in the Middle East, unleashing forces he neither recognizes nor can control.  It is a disaster, worse than the Johnstown Flood.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Arab News, by Ms Baria Alamuddin, 3 January 2020.

Here is an extracted paragraph plus one:

By killing Soleimani, the US has decapitated the principal agent of Tehran's strategy for regional hegemony, bringing an end to a long phase of Tehran-branded militancy dominated by the Quds Force commander personally.  No other global terrorist boasts Soleimani's longevity in overseeing thousands of paramilitary and terrorist attacks over at least four decades.  He lived by the sword and died a fitting death. His passing should not be mourned.

We are in uncharted territory.  How Tehran's regime chooses to respond in the coming days — either lashing out or withdrawing to lick its wounds — will have reverberations in the region for years to come.

This is one view and there are those who think it is rubbish, but it is a view and needs to be considered before we think we fully understand ongoing events.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Ms Baria Alamuddin is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster in the Middle East and the UK. She is editor of the Media Services Syndicate and has interviewed numerous heads of state.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Some Ramifications of the Assassination Yesterday

For John, BLUFThere are lots of issues surrounding the attack on Iranian leader Major General Qassim Suleimani, including how Iran will react, the impact on Iraq, Iran's long term strategy for the area, what Kim Jung-un thinks, how other world leaders will now view President Trump and how, at the other end of the history we will view the actions of Presidents from Carter to Obama.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

That is a news story from The New York Times, via MSM.

A question is, does the President have the authority to order this attack on Major General Suleimani?

Here is the applicable law From a Cornell University Law School web site:

Although the ban on assassination contained in Executive Order 12,333 has the force and effect of a congressional statute,1 2 the President can evade the order's mandate and legally carry out the assassination of a foreign leader in four ways.  He could:  (1) Ask Congress to declare war, in which case a foreign leader exercising command responsibility would become a legitimate target;' 3 (2) Construe Article 51 of the United Nations Charter to permit the assassination of a foreign leader based on either a right to self-defense or a right to respond to criminal activities;' 4 (3) Narrowly interpret the order as not restricting the President as long as he does not approve specific plans for the killing of individuals;' 5 or (4) Overrule the order, create an exception to it, or permit the Congress to do the same.  By using any of these methods, a president could theoretically order the assassination of a foreign leader without violating Executive Order 12,333.
The first question is what constitutes a "leader" vs a member of the enemy force?

But, if by definition, General Suleimani is an Iranian "leader", then the President might be in violation of the law, which the House could use to add an additional article of Impeachment against the President.

But, if the Democrats an misinformed enough to go that route it will only serve to run up the points.  American voters will see it as the President acting in defense of Americans.

Regards  —  Cliff

  He (Suleimani) did manage the killing of 600+ US Service members.
  Remember the poster of President Trump, which says: "They aren't coming for me.  They are coming for you.  I am just in the way."

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Arming the Citizens

For John, BLUFWhen guns are illegal, only criminals will have guns.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from the InstaPundit himself, 1 January 2020.

Here is the blog post:

AND DESERVEDLY SO:  USA Today Dragged to Hell Over Op-Ed on ‘Terrifying’ Heroism in Texas Church Shooting.
Well, here’s some stuff we know about the other armed parishioners that we allegedly know nothing about.  First, they stood up to place their own bodies at risk (“Greater love hath no man,” etc. So the Bible says, and it still is news.)  Second, when Jack Wilson put down the gunman with a single shot, they calmly reholstered their weapons.  Nobody took any unnecessary shots, nobody shot anyone else by accident, and that was that.  Honestly, this is better performance than you’d expect — or usually get — from a like number of law enforcement officers, who nowadays seldom seem to let things stop with one shot, and whose shooting ability seems well below what was displayed here.  So we do know some pretty important things.  The oped author was just too dense, or bigoted, to notice.
Note the reference to police shootings.  This went much better than some famous police shootings, such as the New York Police handling of the Amadou Diallo case or the Chicago Police shooting of Laquan McDonald.

This is not to obscure the fact that the police have a difficult job, requiring split second decisions, some of which will be the wrong decision.  The vast majority will be the right decision.  However, the police are not always on scene when a gunman shows up.  Then it is up to the Immediate Responders, you and me.  The folks at the Church of Christ were exemplary.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  White Settlement is a strange name.  The residents voted on a name change, back in 2005, but the proposed change failed.

Another One Bites the Dust

For John, BLUFPrimaries are ruthless in sorting out contestants, but they are the best way we have of winnowing the field so we don't have to have runoffs to pick a true winner of the majority of votes.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I got this from the Dan Bongino News Aggregation website.

From Fox News, by Reporters Judson Berger and Paul Steinhauser, 2 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Julian Castro, the former Obama housing secretary and San Antonio mayor, has dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The only Latino in the field, Castro established himself as one of the more progressive members in the primary race but had been struggling to raise money and fight his way back onto the debate stage.

I give kudos to Secretary Castro for being willing to put himself forward and for a pretty aggressive run at the prize.  Sure, he didn't make it, but a lot of folks haven't made it this year, having fallen out along the way, ahead of him.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Misunderstanding the British Election

For John, BLUFI know there are people who think we would be better off with a government more like Venezuela, but frankly those folks have a solution for making all equal (except for the leaders) by making everyone poor.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Corbyn is no Sanders, Johnson is no Trump

From Commonweal Magazine, by Associate Editor Matthew Sitman, 24 December 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

In the weeks leading up to the Conservative Party’s triumph in the British elections earlier this month, there were just enough glimmers of hope to let Labour partisans nurture what, deep down, they probably knew were unrealistic dreams of an upset—anecdotes about surging voter registration, talk of armies of canvassers, a bit of movement in the polls.  In the end, that only made the final results more stunning.  Boris Johnson will lead a commanding majority in Parliament with a mandate, as his campaign slogan went, to “get Brexit done.”

The vote tallies had barely been announced when pundits began churning out dire warnings about what this meant for Democrats in the United States: See what happens when you move too far left?  In the Atlantic, Yascha Mounk gravely suggested that if Democrats “position themselves outside of America’s cultural mainstream, they may suffer the same dismal fate as Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.”  In New York magazine, Andrew Sullivan admonished them to “ignore the woke.”  The New York Times rushed out an article about the “ominous signs” centrist politicians like Joe Biden and Rahm Emanual saw in Labour’s defeat.  Roger Cohen, also in the New York Times, published a column titled “Boris Johnson and the Coming Trump Victory in 2020.”  His colleague Bret Stephens seemed to agree, concluding that to oppose Trump with “progressive primal screams is to ensure his re-election.”

Not much of this was serious analysis. It’s true that Donald Trump could win again in November, especially in the absence of an economic downturn.  But the direct comparisons between U.S. politics and what happened in Great Britain strain credulity.  Most of all, Jeremy Corbyn was a deeply unpopular candidate, quite apart from his politics.  His approval rating going into the election was forty points underwater.  While some of this surely was due to an onslaught of negative press, including charges of anti-Semitism, it’s also true that Corbyn could seem evasive in his answers about Brexit, allowing his position to be tagged as “dither and delay”—during his final debate with Johnson, he refused to say whether he would campaign for or against the deal he promised he would negotiate with Brussels and put to a second referendum.  Bernie Sanders, often compared to Corbyn, is viewed quite differently.  As Eric Levitz pointed out, he’s “more than 15 times as popular as his British comrade.”

There’s little evidence that Labour’s leftwing agenda should be blamed for their loss. One exit poll found that only 12 percent of respondents cited the party’s economic policies as the reason they didn’t vote for Labour, while 43 percent said it was because of the party’s leadership.  Polling on the Labour platform was summarized this way by the Independent:  “The public are absolutely not scared of government intervention and quite like Labour's socialist platform.  These policies individually range from quite popular to ridiculously popular.”  Proposals to raise taxes on the rich and nationalize railways and water companies, for example, garnered broad support. Whatever else this means, it certainly doesn’t prove that Democrats should tack to the center instead of embracing a wealth tax, Medicare for All, or the Green New Deal.

When Trump runs for re-election, he’ll no longer be a blank screen onto which voters can project their hopes, but a candidate who has to defend a record of astonishing cruelty, incompetence, and pathetic obedience to the demands of corporations and plutocrats.

There is at least one lesson Democrats should take away from the British elections, however: rightwing populism remains a potent political force.

Why is populism "Right Wing"?.nbsp; Using left and right to describe parties is not very accurate.  For example, the Nazis, socialists of a different rank as described as "right wing".  Are they?  If murder is the criteria, they are more like Communists.

It is like using "red" and "Blue" to describe US political parties.  In the course of my life Red has almost always been the part of Revolution.  Are the Republicans, the GOP, the revolutionaries?

But most of all, the working class in the United States is rapidly becoming more diverse—in a decade or two, half of it will be people of color.  Much of the commentary on the British elections has simply erased this fact, treating the aging white population of a small island as representative of our own electorate.  Lacking a controversy as galvanizing as Brexit, and faced with the prospect of the United States becoming a majority-minority country within many of our lifetimes, the GOP increasingly relies on undemocratic institutions such as the Electoral College, the Senate, and the courts, as well as assaults on voting rights and foreign interference in elections, to cling to power.  If Trump wins again, it will not look like the wave that delivered Johnson his impressive majority.  It’s more likely that he’ll win while receiving millions fewer votes than his Democratic opponent—an prospect that reveals a different task for those who want to see him defeated.
I was wondering if Mr Sitman was a racist, since he seems to be viewing politics through the lens of race and ethnicity.  Then I cheated and looked up the word.  The word suggests that one views one's own race as inherently superior to other races.  That doesn't seem to be Mr Sitman.  He seems to view politics in terms of the balance of races, rather than through the lens of The Declaration of Independence.  Where Mr Sitman and I differ is that he seems to think that all left wing views and political systems are equal and I believe we have a very good system and we should be looking for immigrants who wish to benefit from it and sustain it.  To be blunt, I want some semblance of an Anglo-Saxon form of Government, something that caters to what we call The Rights of Englishmen.

The other way Mr Sitman goes wrong is in understanding today's political situation.  As Reporter Silena Zito keeps pointing out, it wasn't that Mr Treump (or Mr Boris Johnson) created a political moment.  Rather, they stumbled upon it and exploited the moment.  Here is a column that talks to the, "The Town That Wouldn't Be Passed By".  We are still a fairly high trust society.  I don't wish to see the US become more like Latin American societies, especially Mexico, with not only a drug cartel society, but an avocado cartel society.

As for the sub headline, I think Mr Jeremy Corbyn is a disaster and an anti-semite.  As for Senator Sanders, some of his associates are anti-semites and his proposals are a disaster for the American economy and the American People.

Regards  —  Cliff

  A couple of weeks ago an avocado cartel shot up some town in Mexico, asserting their authority.  What can you do?  Boycott guacamole and vote Republican in November 2020.

Happy 2020

For John, BLUFWe survived last year.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

As Lowell Girl made good, Ms Betty Davis, might have put it.
Fasten your seatbelts.  It's going to be a bumpy year.
Regards  —  Cliff